YANDY

by Jolly Read

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YANDY

by Jolly Read

"Yandy is iconoclastic for its representation of Don McLeod as being "one of them," meaning a white to the Aboriginal people and not the blackfella’s friend he styled himself as. It is refreshing for its naïve representation of Dorothy Hewett as a young reporter for the West Australian who is looking for a story rather than a headline. But most of all it is informative for the way it documents and elaborates the details of the Aboriginal station-workers’ Strike of 1946, sometimes called "the blackfella’s Eureka": how the pastoralists were outraged, how the police took their side, and how the Aboriginal people took a stand and did not give in, not even to this day according to some of the old people who insist that they never returned to work on the stations. A dramatic illustration of how the master-slave relationship is ruptured when the slave says No." Judges' Comments - WA Premier's Book Award for best script, 2004.

Yandy tells the story of the first Aboriginal workers' strike in this nation's history. In 1946, 800 pastoral workers in the vast Pilbara went on strike. A quarter of a century later they eventually gained their own land and station at Yandeyarra, near Port Hedland. This landmark event happened 20 years before cattle workers in the Northern Territory staged the more widely documented Wave Hill strike.

One of the original Pilbara strike leaders, Peter Coppin ('Kangkushot')lived on the land he fought so hard to regain until his death in 2006 aged 86. His experiences and life story have inspired and informed the script. Yandy is a major Australian story that tells of the enormous courage and determination by the strikers - in the face of brutality, starvation, chainings and gaolings - to break their bonds of slavery to the pastoralists.

"Yandy...An inspiring story chronicling the nation's first strike of Aboriginal workers back in 1946...this is not to be missed." - The Sunday Times Magazine, 17 October 2004

"Perhaps the most impressive aspect of this play is the way in which the audience is included and engaged...I admit I cried when Peter Coppin struggled onto the stage at the end of the performance to be greeted by the cast - his is one of WA's great stories and Jolly Read and Black Swan deserve hearty praise for making sure we know about it." - Fremantle Herald, 16 October 2004

"This is a big, sprawling, ambitious epic production that stakes out its own territory." - Ron Banks, The West Australian, 11 October 2004

"It is a splendid production, its power lying in the overlap between life and art." - Victoria Laurie, Weekend Australian, 17 October 2004

This title appears in:

Western Australian Premier's Award (2004 winner)

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